Survey reveals Britons' data addiction

Businesses should brace themselves for some big rises in mobile bills, while parents of teenagers should probably avert their eyes now.

According to research company CCS Insight, mobile subscribers in the UK could be looking at unlimited mobile data packages following forecasts that data usage could rise seven-fold over the next four years. The CCS Insight research suggests that British users could be consuming a massive 18GB of data per month by 2021, a huge increase on the current 2.5GB.

Currently, only Three offers an unlimited data package but increases of this sort of magnitude would prompt other operators to follow suit.  Three has to provide a package of this sort as its customers consume so much more data than its competitors’ users, gobbling up 7GB of data a month.

5G will give bigger boost

And that sort of increase in usage precedes the arrival of 5G – suggesting that the rise would reach even dizzier heights a few years later. CCS Insight believes that UK consumers would buy into 5G in a big way. By the end of 2025, the company predicts that more than half of all mobile connections in the UK will be on a 5G network.

There are two alternative scenarios, according to CCS Insight. One is that the UK goes down the Finnish model and offer data packages according to speed of service. 

The other is that operators put limits on data usage or use big price increases to temper demand. It remains to be seen which way UK operators move, but since the arrival of the data age, companies have not tended to reduce data consumption, nor operators hold back.